La MaMa Blogs: 6 Questions: Sachiyo Takahashi

Friday, November 9, 2018

6 Questions: Sachiyo Takahashi


Inspired by abstract visual artists, notably Wassily Kandinsky, Alexander Calder and Otto Piene, Everything Starts from a Dot is an abstract journey of a humble dot presented through Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatrecombining video projection and the presence of moving objects on stage. Sachiyo Takahashi took time out of performances to answer our 6 questions:


1) Do you have a favorite puppet in your performance?
Dot. Dot is possibly one of the most minimalist puppets. My interest in puppetry is how to animate an object and to express myself through the object. I like the challenge of animating this minimalist object (or concept) as a protagonist of a story. The interesting characteristics of dot is that it could appear in different sizes, different materials, different colors and it still could be recognized as the same existence. Also, it could be metaphorical, conceptual and poetic. I think that dot is a perfect protagonist for a story of metamorphosis.

By the way, “dot” is actually a member of Nekaa Lab. Under the name of Nekaa Lab, I have been creating works with a troop of ensemble casts such as figurines, plush toys and other objects since 2006. In that sense, I usually consider “dot” as my collaborator, not exactly a puppet. See dot’s profile here: http://www.nekaa.org/lab-member.

2) How do you define Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre?
Microscopic: Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre magnifies the discoveries in the small world. Microcosmos contains macrocosmos. Thus, magnification of the small world could reveal the secrets of the universe. I use video cameras and projector as a magnification tool to share my small discoveries with audiences.

Live Cinema-Theatre: All the visuals in Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre are a live feed from a video camera controlled on stage, without the use of pre-recorded footage.  A performer (in this case, myself) manipulates all the visual elements live in front of audience. This is because I compose all the visual elements similar to the way I compose music, and they are design to be performed live, like a musician plays a musical instrument. Therefore, a performer in Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre is visible on stage, like an instrumentalist in a music concert. The word Theatre also emphasizes that it is a platform of live storytelling. 

3) What inspires you about Wassily Kandinsky's art?
He is one of the first artists who explored full potential of abstract painting. After him, point, line, shape and colour in the paintings for the first time became independent from serving the function of representing things in real world. Abstraction could instead reflect the realm of the mind, emotions, spirituality. Everything Starts from a Dot also explores this territory.
The way he looked at the world indeed influenced the way I look at things; I started to see a dot here. I mean, here. Do you see it?

4) Is there spoken text in your production? Why or why not?
There is no spoken text in this production. Everything Starts from a Dot is an experiment in abstract storytelling. So I decide to only use abstract visual and auditory elements in this work without spoken languages.

I am a strong believer in the power of spoken or sung text, especially in the traditional storytelling forms such as Gidayƫ-bushi in Japanese Bunraku puppet theatre. Spoken text, in my view, is so powerful that if it is not carefully used, it could undermine the other performative elements. I practice Shinnai-bushi, a type of Japanese traditional storytelling myself, so I am thinking to create a work focusing on spoken/sung text in near future.

5) Why is music important in your production?
I am primarily a composer and musician. I compose visual and auditory elements simultaneously. Perhaps that is the most unique feature of my work. The visual and auditory elements are designed to intertwine each other to evoke certain emotions. In my work, the visual without sound doesn’t make any sense. What you feel watching my work largely relies on the effect of soundtrack.

6) What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
The other day, I had a chance to peek at the archive room of La MaMa. It was such a wonder. I am so honored to be a part of this creative, experimental history of NYC. Since my work doesn’t fit in any existing genres, I often feel myself isolated and marginal. At La MaMa, I feel quite comfortable being on the edge, meeting like-minded artists and audiences. This place reminds me again if you like to see something new, you just need to go all the way to the boarder, a frontier.

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November 08 - November 10, 2018
Downstairs | 66 East 4th Street
Thursday to Friday at 8:30PM; Saturday at 7PM
$25 Tickets; $20 Student/Senior Tickets [+$1 Facility Fee]